Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Random Wednesday

Still waiting for the Berroco Suede to arrive.

Hands can get really sweaty when knitting with Kidsilk Haze in summer. Once I got used to the lace pattern, the knitting of Gabi would be quite uneventful ... just a large piece of rectangle with neck opening in the middle.

Rowan 44 arrived this afternoon. I like Fontaine and Dietrich. I might even have something in my stash to make them. Great! This doesn't happen to me very often. ::grin:: But I hope the knitting kit would come soon too.

Recently I discovered that Piecework is a very enjoyable magazine, so I decided to subscribe. In the latest issue, there is a beautiful shawl from Nancy Bush's new book.

I was completely caught by surprise when Neil Patrick Harris was shot to death in the second Harold & Kumar movie, which was not as good as the first one to me. The level of grossness is unnecessarily high for me. Good thing there is something to look forward to ... have you watched the trailer?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Exciting ... exciting!

Even with making 2/3 sleeves, I am still 1 ball's yarn short ... so the big hole has to wait for a few days to be completed:
So, what am I to do before the yarn arrives? To start new projects, of course!

I always wonder how some knitters manage to knit the latest, newest patterns while they are still hot off the press. For me, it seems that I am always making something from the past several seasons. But I think Spring Forward is still hot, right? I am using another gorgeous gift from Debi:
This Jungle colourway from Claudia's Handpaint is simply gorgeous (which I hope I could have captured it right for you!), so even though it may be a bit too busy for the pattern, I am enjoying knitting it.

The preview for Rowan's 30th anniversary magazine has been out, how do you like it? Just by looking at the pictures on the computer screen, I didn't jump with joy. It's not that the patterns are not beautiful ... on the contrary, I think they are classy and elegant ... too much for my everyday's need. I will have to wait for the magazine to arrive to have my final say. But I have started Gabi from Rowan 43:
Isn't the lace pattern beautiful? The 10-row pattern certainly seems complicated in written instructions; that was why I charted it myself and it does great help.

While my feelings for the latest Rowan magazine are just so-so, I was extremely delighted with Taj Mahal from knitonthenet. It certainly looks like another would-be-much-loved summer tank for me. Finally found good use to the Cotton Fleece in the stash. :)

Friday, July 25, 2008

3/4 sleeves it would be!

Thanks for the advice on making the sleeves first ... which is completely sensible. I was still holding some hope that there would be just enough yarn. So, I started making the sleeve following the pattern. Before the sleeve cap, I weighed the half-sleeve and the remaining yarn ... no luck!

Therefore, for the time being, let's just play around with the half-finished cardigan with the big hole:
I so wanted to make the medallion pattern first ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Full Circle

The shape of the cardigan is getting clearer. The medallion is quite round in shape, right?

It seems quite possible that I would run into the same old problem of not enough yarn! Damn! Lesson to be learned: never stash your yarns for too long.

I still have about 1" to go before binding off. Should I work on the sleeves first? or the medallion?

Monday, July 21, 2008

08:15 Floral Lace Anklets

Back when I first started knitting socks, I was pretty anal about the 2 socks being identical. Not a fan of using circular needles for socks, I had 2 sets of needles and started both socks at the same time, alternating between them in sections. When I found that this didn't really work too well, I started taking notes ... how many rows for the cuff and the heel, how many stitches to pick up for the gusset and the decrease pattern for the toe. The habit of note-taking has been very beneficial to my knitting, not just socks, in general. However, sometimes I slipped and forgot to mark down what was important. If I discovered this while knitting the second sock, I would get really Monk-style agitated ... which is silly actually.

It is silly because very often the "difference" is not visible at all. I am just glad that I am completely over that stage. See this:
The two cuffs are obviously different. I discovered I missed one row of the cuff pattern in the first sock after finishing the cuff of the second. My old self would be tempted to rip the first sock and do it over again! Or at least I would rip the second one and knit it the way the first one was done. Now? No way I am going to rip that much because of one row's mismatch.

So, I have another pair done ... a pretty pretty pair!

Pattern: Floral Lace Anklets designed by Evelyn A. Clark from Lace Style
I love this pattern ... easy to memorize and the pattern is pretty pretty pretty. I am starting to see why Evelyn Clark is the favourite sock designer of so many knitters. Maybe next year would be my Year of Evelyn Clark ... LOL!

Yarn: Crystal Palace Maizy (82% Corn Fiber - 18% elastic nylon) Col: 1211 Orange Crush
Isn't the colour most suitable for summer? The Maizy yarn is a bit thicker than TOFUtsies but still very good for summer socks. I love the cushiness of the socks. Besides, I believe it would not get stiff with wash like the Esprit socks do.

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1

Cast On: 07-16-2008
Cast Off: 07-21-2008

I don't know what happened to me. Maybe I was stimulated and inspired by Polly's sock knitting recently. I have already started my 4th pair in July! :D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

He loves me ... he loves me not ...

Instead of tearing single petals off a flower one at a time, I knitted one round and said, "it works!" ... knitted another round and said, "it works not!" What am I talking about? This:
I think the pattern (Floral Lace Anklets from Lace Style) does show better with more repeats. When there was only the cuff, it seemed all meshed up and I was so prepared to frog and start again. I am still half holding my breath ...

Guess what this is:
Weird shape, huh? The circular was not long enough, so I can only show you half of it. It's the Dreamcatcher Medallion Cardigan. Finally. I have wanted to make this for so long. The yarns are Berroco Suede, which I originally planned to make the Berroco knitting tote. But after seeing the real thing in Stitches West, I realized I didn't really want the tote. I always love the texture of the Suede knitted up:
Love the subtle kettle-dyed-like shades of colour too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

08:14 Tabi Socks

This traditional Japanese socks are still quite popular nowadays. Proof: I can obviously see many of the competitors (even non-Japanese) in Ninja Warriors (Sasuke) wearing tabi socks. I've never worn these socks before ... that was why I finally decided to try this something new.

It was fun. Even just looking at the sock on needles, it was fun! I found myself trying the sock on frequently ... yeah, more than the usual sock knitting frequently ... because the sight of this was just hilarious to me:
Please excuse the un-pedicured toe
... I didn't really enjoy having
another person treating my fingers and toes!

I can't say immediately if I like this type of socks. I guess it is certainly an acquired taste. But it is certainly good to be paired with sandals:

Pattern: Tabi Socks designed by Veronik Avery from Knitting Classic Style
A fun variation of ordinary sock patterns. However, knitting the small circumference of a toe is tiresome. This is also another reason I don't like knitting gloves, other than that I don't have a great use for them.
If I like them, I think I would knit another tabi-style pair in summer yarns. For now, I am not sure.
The lace pattern is definitely lovely. But don't try to memorize it ... I couldn't.

Yarn: Fleece Artist Basic Merino Sock in Wild Flower (100% merino, 349 yards)
A lovely basic yarn in lovely colour. I have to thank Debi again for this wonderful gift. Extra love for the yarn because it is machine washable. I think I really like knitting with tight-twisted yarn ... can't really say why ... it just felt very good holding tight-twisted yarn in hand.

Needles: Hiya Hiya stainless steel dpns US0
For such small size, I certainly prefer steel dpns over bamboo ones. Between the Inox and Hiya Hiya, I like the latter because the Inox ones are too gripping.

Cast On: 07-06-2008
Cast Off: 07-14-2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Wish you a great weekend!

I don't have anything new to show because I checked this out from the library yesterday. This is one of my favourite crime shows (yeah, I watch almost all the crime drama on tv ... to such an extent that is kind of alarming to Husband ... LOL!) which I always missed and which CBS didn't offer free on demand. My knitting productivity was a bit low when watching this show ... I wonder why.

Last time I forgot to mention my new HiyaHiya dpns. I bought the US0 and would like to have the US00 if there was any. The points were not as sharp as I expect them to be ... but I love using these dpns almost as much as the bamboo ones! They are lightweight, not like those KnitPicks ones, and they have just enough grip so stiches can slide smoothly but not off the needles easily.

Husband would be putting extra hours on his work project this weekend, so I think I would have lots of time for my knitting too. :) Wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Keep the socks coming

Have you joined the Summer of Sock 2008? I missed it! But no worry. The Sock-A-Month KAL has been very effective in keeping up my sock mojo. What I like about the SAM is the minimal requirements -- a pair of socks with heels a month -- that's it.

For July, I already have one pair (the Go With The Flow Socks) and the second pair are coming:
This is Tabi Socks from Veronik Avery's Knitting Classic Style. I am not too crazy about the cuff. The lace pattern is lovely but hardly an easy one to memorize! I am still undecided whether to knit them in the tabi style (split-toe) or not ...

Don't you just love the colourway of the yarn? That was Fleece Artist Basic Sock in Wild Flower ... one of the lovely gifts from Debi. Yeah, I have decided that there was enough patting of the yarns, and now is the time to make them into something even more beautiful. The colourway is beautiful in a different way when in the form of a yarn cake:
The colours are so pale that I feel I have to breathe very gently or they would be blown away!

Monday, July 07, 2008

08:13 Vogue Lacy Dress

So, I didn't really set fire to the dress ... never do anything on an impulse! But this did indicate my patience for this dress was wearing thinner by the day, despite the fact that I still love to have it done.

For some time, I thought I would have the dress done but it was not going to fit ... until I had the neckband(s) sewn:
With no patience and no yarn left to knit the long sleeves, I made 2 17-repeats of the lace edgings as the sleeve-caps. To my very pleasant surprise, the result is very very good:
About the problem I had earlier which nobody else seemed to have, I think it was because I used a slightly thicker yarn and so it came out more obvious in mine. But as you can see here, the transition between the two skirt panels is still awkward:Luckily, it seems to look better when worn:

Project: Lacy Dress designed by Shirley Paden from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2007
This is a "flouncy baby-doll dress with bell-sleeves" which is usually too feminine for my taste and too young for me. However, for some unknown reason, I fell for this pattern the moment I got the magazine. If I were under 25, I would have no problem wearing this going everywhere; but at 44, I think I would stick to my original plan -- wearing it to the swimming pool only. :)
Since my yarn is thicker, I made the small size which gave me a somewhat medium. On the whole, I think the pattern is well-written and the shaping is good. But there is indeed a pattern correction on their site ... which I didn't have to follow.

Yarn: TLC Cotton Plus (51% Cotton, 49% Acrylic, 178 yards) Col: 3100 Cream
For my sleeveless version, I used 8.5 balls. I decided to use this yarn for the pattern mainly because I had 4 balls in the stash. Where did they come from? I completely forgot ... it happens, right? LOL! But if you want to make this dress, I'd say using a sport weight yarn would be better ... the dress would be lighter.

Needles: Denise US6

Cast On: 05-02-2008
Cast Off: 07-06-2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

08:12 Go With the Flow Socks

Despite the fact that all residents in Big Sur have to be evacuated and there are still more than 1000 wildfires burning in Northern California, the sky here has actually cleared up and is blue again. For the past week, it was heavily hazy and sometimes we could even detect a smoky smell in the air. So, seeing the blue sky again feels good.

Finally. Finally. Finally. No more talking with one hand holding a cell phone behind the wheel here. No. More. Such a law had been enforced in Hong Kong for some time before I came here in 2001. So at first I was genuinely surprised to find so many people driving with a cell phone stuck to their ears. And I have been waiting for such a law all these years. So, this is good.

And of course, new socks are good. Just as I told you, the Go With The Flow Socks went crazily fast. I have to say the pattern goes very well with the yarn ... yes, another pair of TOFUtsies:
First of all, there seemed to be no pooling in this colourway. But even if there was, the lace pattern helped to distract attention from the pooling.

Pattern: Go With The Flow Socks designed by Evelyn A. Clark from Interweave Knits Favourite Socks
I remember this pattern has been quite a popular one once. I can see why. The lacy part makes the socks very stretchy. Therefore, the combination of yarn and pattern makes this a very comfortable summer socks.

Yarn: SWTC Tofutsies (50% Superwash Wool, 25% SOYSILK brand fiber, 22.5% Cotton, 2.5% Chitin) Col: 803
I didn't like this yarn too much the first time I was knitting with it. But wearing the socks turned my heart around. Being a true fingering weight yarn, TOFUtsies gives you great socks for summer ... something I would grab instead of those thick Esprit socks. The colourway this time is lovely lovely lovely too. :)

Needles: Crystal Palace bamboo dpns US1.5

Cast On: 06-23-2008
Cast Off: 07-01-2008